At a doctor’s appointment last week, the nurse was going over some details and said, “ok just to clarify, you have been pregnant twice, one carried to full term, the other was a tubal that resulted in a salpingectomy.” She said it so clinically. So unemotional. I kept a straight face and said, “yes, that is correct.” As the days go on, we tend to forget details. We don’t remember exactly how we felt in the moment. We know it was the worst day of our life. We never could have imagined feeling like that. It becomes easier to get through each day. Not as awful each morning when you wake up no longer pregnant. You are finally able to smile again. But then randomly, all the emotions come flooding back. Sometimes, these emotions are just as strong as they were right then in the moment days, weeks, months, or years before.
Two years ago I was finally pregnant on Mother’s Day. Every year until then I would go and buy my mom and Grandmother cards, and wish longingly that I would have a turn to get the pink floral cards given to me. Would I ever have little kids running to make me breakfast in bed? Or the little flowerpots painted with only the love a 5 year old can put into painting a flowerpot for her Mommy. Akiva would not even acknowledge it was Mother’s Day that year. He was too nervous. After so many failures and disappointments, why would this be any different?
The following year it was finally my turn, Akiva got Adeline a little shirt that said Mommy’s First Mother’s Day on it. It was adorable and so nice to finally have positive emotions surrounding a day that was always so full of stress. This year the feelings are more complex. I love every single day of being a Mother to my adorable and sometimes crazy almost two year old, but I also have a hole in my heart, of loss, frustration, and disappointment in my journey to being a mother.
I feel the loss of my pregnancy and the child who would have come. I would be almost 32 weeks pregnant this week. Almost full term. Almost at the point where I would be ready to welcome a new baby into my home. Instead, we still are trying to figure out where to go from here. Enduring more treatment, more frustration, more doctors and more tests.
I used to keep infertility and pregnancy loss in very different categories in my mind. Now that I have experienced both, I have completely intertwined them and everything that they are in my life. My pregnancy loss came after much treatment for infertility; it is so difficulty to separate these out. It has made my future journey to pregnancy and children even more complex. It has also escalated my emotional response to either of these topics.
People don’t realize that when a woman is having trouble getting pregnant, they can avoid family and friends who are pregnant. They can avoid the topic of conversation, but they cannot avoid every promotional email, every drugstore pushing flowers and chocolate in your face, or even every Mother’s Day wishes they get – because they are a Mother – but inside they are secretly crying, mourning the loss of every other pregnancy that did not result in a live birth. Maybe they spent the morning of Mother’s Day in the clinic having blood work and an ultrasound done, instead of sleeping in.
And some women will never be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. A patient last week said to me, “if you are a Mother, have a happy Mother’s Day!” Thankfully, I am a mother, but it struck a chord with me. How many times did people ask me in years past if I was a mother, how I was celebrating, what we were going to do for the weekend. It brings all the emotions that we try so hard to not think about to the surface.
Mother’s Day is a day full of emotions for most women on earth, but let us try and make it easier for the women who may not have positive associations with the day, and ask them what they want to do to make it easier for them. Maybe they don’t want to attend a huge Mother’s Day brunch, maybe they just want to be on their own and acknowledge their loved ones individually, or maybe they just need space and time to process their emotions in their own way.